I doubt if there was anything more predictable – following the debacle in Perpignan last weekend – than that the Salford City Reds and Karl Harrison were destined for a parting of the ways.
Sure enough today the following announcement was made by the Salford club chairman John Wilkinson:
The Board of Directors would like to thank Karl for his hard work and service during his five years here at Salford City Reds. The club feel that with 13 fixtures remaining the time has come for a new direction. We wish Karl all the best for the future.
Football Director Steve Simms will takeover as caretaker coach in the interim. So much for the much touted rise of the British coach.
However, Harrison – who until this morning was the longest-serving coach in the Super League (June 2002) and only recently was touted as Great Britain coach – must be wondering what the hell went wrong with his team this time around.
Having secured a top six play-off spot last season based largely on a miserly defence and a massive team work ethic they have suffered from a singular lack of one-on-one tackling ability this season.
Whether that is down to coaching, on field organisational ineptness, poor conditioning or just the appetite of the players Karl has recruited and assembled is now a moot point.
Despite indicators to the contrary, the announcement seems to have made monkeys of the national RL media; most of the papers I browsed today indicating that Harrison was safe for the moment. That’s hardly a strategy that will foster good media relations for Salford at a time when it needs all the friends it can muster, because that feedback can only have come from within the club at some stage yesterday.
Whilst it’s too early for any serious candidates to have emerged for the now vacant role there is the intriguing prospect that Warrington Wolves coach, Paul Cullen, who was far from happy with the booing his team received on Saturday, may fancy a change and a new challenge.